Sweet Potatoes - superfood for better health.

For the last 3 weeks I have been cultivating a batch of sweet potatoes and watching their root systems grow which has been interesting. I thought it would be a great opportunity to write about the health benefits of sweet potatoes because they really are a super food and a favourite of mine.

5 Health benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene which helps keep our eyes, mucous membranes, immune and skin healthy and working well. Sweet potatoes are really a great little vegetable to include along with other orange vegetables if you are experiencing immune, eye and skin health issues.

Sweet potatoes are soothing on the digestive tract, promotes healthy bacterial growth in the intestines and helps bring comfort to digestive issues such as IBS, ulcerative colitis and dysbiosis.

Unlike the humble white potato that can cause a spike in blood sugars the sweet potato can help decrease and regulate blood sugars. Helping to maintain and stabilise blood sugar with sustained energy release. This is interesting as sweet potatoes have higher sugar content then white potatoes but lower starch content and more nutrients and fibre which could be why it is a winner and digests sugars much more efficiently. If you are a diabetic I suggest you talk to a health practitioner to work out the best foods for you to help assist blood sugars. Sweet Potato eaten at night time with your meal can help relax the body and get the body ready for a good night sleep. Sweet potatoes have good levels of tryptophan which is great for aiding the body to produce serotonin, which is what helps us sleep at night.

Sweet potatoes can reduce inflammation within the body such as arthritis, allergies, immune issues and pain. This is due to sweet potatoes high beta carotene, manganese, Vitamin C and B6 levels creating a great anti-inflammatory property to soothe away inflammation in the body.

How to cook and use sweet potatoes

You can use sweet potatoes very much like the white potato and exchange many of your white potato dishes with sweet potato. Due to their being less starches and with the sweet potato having a slightly sweeter taste it does alter the taste slightly, but not in a bad way and the taste buds do grow with it. One thing with white potatoes is a lot of salt and saturated fats are often added to enhance their flavour, so make sure it isn’t the salt and oils you are craving when converting to sweet potatoes. There are lots of tricks I have in my Naturopath bag when It comes to changing to healthier alternatives by balancing the digestive system and deficiencies.

How to grow sweet potatoes

This is my little project I have been working on in my house the last few weeks. There are many ways to grow sweet potatoes and you will find plenty of YouTube’ videos on different ways on growing sweet potatoes. This is what I have done: The trick is to grow slips so you can plant them straight into the ground. In the picture displayed is the sweet potato tuber in water technique that I have been doing at home. This is a great one if you have little kids and if you are like me and like watching things grow ;).

In the water is the root system and above the water are the baby slips starting to shoot up. As you can see in the picture there are toothpicks on all 4 sides of the sweet potato to help keep the potato half in the water and half out. Once the slips are about 15 centimetres tall you can break the slips off individually and plant them in the ground and the new root systems will grow from the splits. Depending on the type of sweet potato it can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks until the slips are big enough to plant.

Sweet potatoes grow best in warmer temperatures with plenty of sunshine and water. If sweet potatoes are grown in too much shade they tend to grow more leaves and not as much sweet potatoes.

This is a really easy fun low maintenance vegetable to grow, give it a go in your vegetable garden and window seal. If you do not have a garden to grow them it is still a great little experiment to do in the kitchen and they will add nice greenery.